Flexibility of expression in the chaconne
I'm trying to understand some of the interpretations of the arpeggios passage(s) about halfway through the chaconne.
My goal is to try to give my own professional catchy pop twist onto this classical music.
In any case, many of the performers of this play it in different ways. Hahn and Ehnes (granted I think Hilary was 16 when she recorded this, and may have been trying to avoid stirring the pot) play it basically as written in the Galamian book edition, with a lot of clarity. Stern/Gitlis break the chords into basically 2 double stops. Perlman/Vengerov attack the string crossings almost like a romantic-lite passage. Podger hits the bottom and top notes pretty hard and kind of "plays over" the middle open D string. And Heifetz does...whatever it is that he does with the detache stroke.
Since Bach (according to the document scans in my book) wasn't altogether forthcoming about how to actually play this, what are the rules for personal expression in this passage? I was experimenting with playing the arpeggios, but only the way up (so the first ones would be broken like F-D-A, F-D-A, F-D-A, F-D-A, F-D-A, F-D-A instead of the written F-D-A-D, F-D-A-D etc...) and thought it actually sounded kind of good, but with a more "light, haunting" character than what Galamian has printed.
Is this legal to do? I'm not preparing for any audition or anything, but I'd like to at least keep it within the bounds of "good taste".
Everyone has different ideas about what constitutes "good taste," in Bach and otherwise. You should do what you want.
You need to spell professional like "proffesional" in order to imitate the true greatness of David Krakovich. You scared my with the "proffesional catchy pop twist" thing, though.
You haven't told us the most important thing, which is how fast can you play it? Are you the fastest in the world? If not then sadly you will never achieve your goals....
I'll post a video after I get a halfway decent condenser mic.
Well, I am currently putting Chaconne together myslef.
I am on this endless project as well. My method is triplet arpeggio up, triplet arpeggio down. It is one trick that allows the triple-stops and quadruple-stops to be in the same rhythm. I seem to bring out one voice or the other on a fairly random basis, depending on the day. And because I was a harpsichordist first on Bach, I am not above a little expressive rubato as I roll through it. Your "catchy pop twist" scared me, too, as I had suggested to our favorite troll to apply his manic speed insanity to the Chaconne a few threads ago.
Heifetz, for all his greatness, did not turn out a Chaconne that I enjoy. The detache ruins it for me. It was almost technicality for technical sake, not musical.
"Rules for personal expression?"
Keep listening to recordings -- and especially recordings from the last 5-10 years. There really is no right or wrong, and there is a much wider range of approaches than there was just half a generation ago. Baroque bow techniques have been learned and absorbed by so many fiddlers and are informing performances.
Scott - if you are serious (I often cannot tell), I agree with you. Especially re: HH - she's fantastic but her playing does nothing for me.
Kremer is a crazy guy. Everything is twice as fast. Which is why his recording of Bach, which I find kind of harsh and spastic, are 2 discs instead of 3 like the others. Too aggressive, with little emphasis on tonal beauty. He's like a pit bull with Bach.
Mr. Tetzlaff recorded them thrice-I have the latest version for Ondine (and may have heard the first some time ago-remember a friend not liking the second version vs the first). Very "free" performance, and quite good even when I wouldn't agree with everything.
What are your current preferred interpretations, Scott?
"but be wary of being a "complainer","
This is hard to do because there are so many easily accessible recordings these days, but what you might try sometime is looking at a Bach piece you've never heard before and just learn it from scratch. Find the music in the notes, and get it to the highest level you can in this way. Then, after this, check out some recordings just to see how their interpretation was different than yours.
The big advantage of being an amateur is that you can play something the way you want. I agree with Scott also. Whether I like a particular recorded version is movement by movement. It's hard enough to make a coherent whole out of each movement, harder still (and perhaps impossible or even pointless) to do that across entire sonatas or partitas. To some extent all great recording artists do this unwittingly because they have particular things that they do or don't do when playing, which they can adopt with better consistency than amateurs can, and which some might collectively call a "playing style." But one might conclude, for example, that Heifetz's style fits well one movement and not so well another.
Paul... I think the first public performance of Chacnne was in 1840. Because partitas were not written to order, I doubt anyone would play Chaconne for a bunch of innebriated dancers. The form Chaconne is a dance, but this particular one was not written for dancers.
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